I Turn to You (All-4-One song)

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"I Turn to You"
Song by All-4-One from the album Space Jam
Recorded September 1996
Genre Pop
Length 4:52
Label Atlantic
Writer Diane Warren

"I Turn to You" is a song written by American songwriter Diane Warren and firstly recorded by R&B quartet All-4-One from the soundtrack album to the film Space Jam (1996). The ballad, produced by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, received very little recognition until American pop singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera recorded a cover version of the song for her self-titled debut album. Aguilera, who worked with Warren in another song for her debut album, felt connected to the song after relating its lyrics to her relationship with her mother, and was encouraged by Warren to record the track.

Aguilera's version received mixed reviews from music critics, with some praising her vocal delivery, while others went on to criticize the ballad for being too clichéd. Nevertheless, the song became a huge success in the United States, peaking at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and entered the charts of multiple countries across the world. In 2008, "I Turn To You" was covered by Nina Girado, a Filipino pop/R&B singer, for her album Nina Sings the Hits of Diane Warren.[1] It was also used in many singing competition series, such as "American Idol" and most recently "The Voice".

Background[edit]

On November 12, 1996, Atlantic Records released the accompanying soundtrack for the film Space Jam.[2] The soundtrack includes "I Turn to You", a song written by Diane Warren and recorded by boy band All-4-One.[2] Its production was done by James Harris III and Terry Lewis.[3] It is a pop song and lasts for a duration of 4:52 (four minutes and fifty-two seconds).[4]

Christina Aguilera version[edit]

"I Turn to You"
Single by Christina Aguilera
from the album Christina Aguilera
B-side "Por Siempre Tu"
Released March 30, 2000[5]
Format
Genre
Length 4:33
Label RCA
Writer(s) Diane Warren
Producer(s) Guy Roche
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"What a Girl Wants"
(1999)
"I Turn to You"
(2000)
"Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)"
(2000)
Music sample
Music video
Video on YouTube

Background[edit]

After signing a record deal with RCA Records, Christina Aguilera started working on songs from her debut album, set to be released in January 1999. Ron Fair was the album's executive producer and according to him, "She was very much a raw talent, so building a collection of songs that would become her first album was a time-consuming process. We wanted to find the ones that could knock the door down and put her up there."[6] Famous songwriter Diane Warren was hired to write material for the album, eventually writing "Somebody's Somebody" and suggested that "I Turn to You", which was written for the "Space Jam soundtrack", would be perfect for her voice.[7] Eventually, Aguilera recorded "I Turn to You" and included it on her self-titled debut album, and the song was chosen as the album's third single. It was sent to U.S. radio on March 30, 2000, while its CD single was released on June 13, 2000.[8] A Spanish version of the song entitled "Por Siempre Tú" was recorded and also released as a single,[8] eventually being included on her first Spanish album, Mi Reflejo.

Composition[edit]

"I Turn to You" is a ballad and lasts for a duration of 4:33 (four minutes and thirty-three seconds).[9] According to the sheet music published by Alfred Publishing, it has a moderate tempo of 62 beats per minute.[10] Aguilera's vocal range spans from the low-note of A♭3 to the high-note of F5.[10] Besides being the songwriter, Diane Warren served as the executive producer of the track, while Guy Roche arranged, produced and programmed the track. Tim Pierce and Michael Thompson provided guitars, Mick Guzauski mixed it, while background vocals were provided by Aguilera and Sue Ann Carwell.[11]

Lyrically, the song is about calling upon the love of that special one when times get tough.[12] For Aguilera, the song "is about that sort of perfect love, which we all dream. This kind of song can make you feel safe and warm anytime of the year. And there's no one better to turn to for that than my own mother," she claimed.[13] "For a shield, from the storm for a friend, for a love to keep me safe and warm, I turn to you/For the strength to be strong, for the will to carry on/For everything you do, for everything that's true, I turn to you," she sings in the chorus.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

"I Turn to You" received mixed reviews from music critics, with some praising Aguilera's vocals, while others criticizing the ballad for being too formulaic. In a positive review, Amanda Murray of Sputnikmusic called the song a "truly well-made pop song", writing that "the music plays a diminished role and Aguilera's voice is allowed to soar and shine moreso than on any of the other tracks."[15] Despite writing that Aguilera "does deliver on the glorious mid-section," Chuck Taylor of Billboard felt that the track "is about as clichéd as ballad gets," sounding "more like a leftover from the stack rather than the kind of glorious anthem Warren is capable of," calling it a remake of Whitney Houston's "Count on Me".[5]

Nikki Tranter of PopMatters called it "a nice little song ruined by that horrid pop beat threatening to destroy cheesy love songs for all time," writing that "the beat alone drags Christina's Etta James potential back down to Mariah Carey quality."[16] Beth Johnson of Entertainment Weekly called it a "maudlin ballad best suited to thirtysomething divas," calling it "a near-identical rip-off of Diane Warren's own Celine Dion smash, 'Because You Loved Me'."[17] Julene Snyder of Sonic.net considered "I Turn to You" a "tear-jerker designed to incite concertgoers to link arms and sing along, even while some of us cringe at the over-the-top vocal histrionics."[18] AOL Radio ranked the song at number 8 on her "Top 10 Hits".[19]

Chart performance[edit]

"I Turn to You" debuted at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the Hot Shot Debut of the week ending April 15, 2000. It also debuted on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, at number 47, with an audience of 28.5 million, also becoming the highest-debuting song on the airplay chart.[20] In its second week, the song jumped to number 39,[21] while in its third week the song climbed to number 30.[22] The song entered the top-twenty on the week of May 20, 2000 (at number 19),[23] and peaked on the week ending July 1, 2000, with a huge climb from number 17 to number 3, becoming its peak position and Aguilera's third top-ten single.[24] It peaked at number 5 on the Adult Contemporary chart, becoming her highest charting single at the time.[25] In Canada, the song peaked inside the top-ten, at number 10.[26]

"I Turn to You" reached the top-twenty in New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. In New Zealand, "I Turn to You" peaked at number 11 and spent 18 weeks on the chart; her longest of the album,[27] in Spain, it peaked at number 12,[28] while in the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number 19, becoming Aguilera's lowest charting single there.[29] Elsewhere, the song cracked the top-forty. In Australia, "I Turn to You" also became Aguilera's lowest single on the charts, reaching number 40 and spending 4 weeks on the chart.[30]

Music video[edit]

Christina Aguilera singing on a CGI rooftop in the music video.

The music video for "I Turn to You" was shot from February 26 to February 28, 2000[31] and it was directed by Joseph Kahn.[32] According to Aguilera, "This video is a little different than my other videos [...] I'm pretty much on a stage just belting my heart out. And the whole city that I'm singing out to, and I'm narrating different events that are going on in this city are in-sync with me."[31] Production was finished on March 26, 2000,[33] and it premiered on April 3, 2000, during the MTV'S Making the Video[32] and made it world premiere on MTV's Total Request Live on April 10, 2000.[34]

The video's storyline follows a young woman getting into an accident, after arguing with her mother. Later, her mother is seen worriedly waiting for word on where she is at the late hour. The video ends with the girl being given the support she needs by her mother. Christina is seen singing in front of a microphone before walking in the rain with an umbrella, and on a rooftop.[35] The rooftop scene was shot in front of a green screen, not in a real rooftop, as seen on the making of. The Celebrity Cafe listed it at number 5 on their "Top 10 Christina Aguilera music videos" list.[35]

Live performances[edit]

Aguilera performed "I Turn to You" in a number of places, with Saturday Night Live (April 8, 2000)[36] & Rosie O'Donnell Show being the first two.[37] She also performed on a medley with "What a Girl Wants" during the American Music Awards of 2000, "Party In The Park",[38] "The Music Factory Dutch"[39] and many others. Aguilera also performed the track during her "Christina Aguilera in Concert" tour as well as on the "Genie Gets Her Wish Home Video", where Heather Phares of Allmusic praised the performance of the song, writing that on the track "Aguilera's undeniable vocal gifts shine through,"[40] and on her "My Reflection DVD" (2001).[41]

Spanish version[edit]

"Por Siempre Tu"
Song by Christina Aguilera from the album Mi Reflejo
Recorded 2000
Length 4:05
Label RCA
Writer
Producer
  • Rudy Pérez
  • Guy Roche
  • Ron Fair (executive producer)
  • Diane Warren (executive producer)

In 1999, Aguilera began recording her first Spanish album in Miami with Cuban-American producer Rudy Pérez.[42] He composed Spanish versions of five songs from Aguilera's debut album, including "I Turn to You", which became "Por Siempre Tu".[43] "Por Siempre Tu" was written and produced by Pérez among the former producer of the song, Guy Roche. Diane Warren and Ron Fair executively produced the track, while Aguilera, Pérez and Wendy Pendersen provided background vocals.[43] Pérez stated that Aguilera did not know any Spanish while recording; he remedied the problem by phonetically writing out lyrics and included a system that allowed Aguilera to pronounce the "r's" in the songs.[44]

Her decision to record in Spanish scored points with the Spanish-speaking audience, said Haz Montana, program director at the Los Angeles Latin-music station KSSE-FM. "There's usually a sizeable rejection when someone just translates an English song and doesn't speak a lick of Spanish," he said. "She's defied the odds." He further commented: "Her accent is impeccable," he said. "There may be a slight nuance here and there that tells you that Spanish is not her first language, but that's as far as it gets."[45] "Por Siempre Tu" was released as a single during the time "I Turn to You" was also released.[46]

Sean Piccoli of Sun-Sentinel called it "one of those Wind Beneath My Wings lifter-uppers that she cranks out for the likes of Celine Dion and Faith Hill. Piccoli noted that "Aguilera, like Warren's other interpreters, is faithfully cringe-inducing and overdramatic. She shares their deafness to understatement and can no more reel it in for this or any other moment that might benefit from a lighter touch."[47] "Por Siempre Tu" peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, becoming Aguilera's first top-ten single on the Latin charts.[48] It spent 10 weeks on the charts.[48]

A music video for the song was directed by Joseph Kahn, who also directed the video for "I Turn to You". The scenes were the same as the English version, while also featuring Christina singing the Spanish version in front of a microphone and on a rooftop.[49] Aguilera performed the Spanish version on the "Caracas Pop Festival" in 2001 as well as on her Mi Reflejo Tour.[50][51]

Other versions and impact[edit]

"I Turn to You" was part of the soundtrack of Brazilian soap opera Uga-Uga (2000).[52] In 2005, American singer Vonzell Solomon performed the track during the fourth season of American Idol. In 2008, Nina Girado, a Filipino pop/R&B singer, covered the track for her fourth studio album Nina Sings the Hits of Diane Warren.[1] In a 2013 interview, American recording artist Lady Gaga stated that she was inspired by Aguilera's version of the track, saying, "When I was 15, I was singing 'I Turn to You' at the top of my lungs trying to hit all her notes. So she was an inspiration to me to have a wider vocal range."[53] Most recently, the song was used as a battle song between contestants Beth Spangler and Mia Pfirrman during the seventh season of the American singing competition The Voice.[54]

Track listings[edit]

US CD single[55]
  1. "I Turn to You" – 3:53
  2. "Por Siempre Tu" – 3:53
Europe maxi single[56]
  1. "I Turn To You (Radio Edit)" – 3:53
  2. "I Turn To You (Radio Edit - Music Intro)" – 4:03
  3. "What A Girl Wants (Thunderpuss Fiesta Edit)" – 3:25
  4. "What A Girl Wants (Thunderpuss Dirty Radio Mix)" – 3:16

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Catalogue no.
Europe[56] May 8, 2000 Maxi single RCA Records 74321-75200-2
United States[55][70] June 13, 2014 7" single N/A
CD single N/A

References[edit]

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